Home of the Brave tells the story of Kek, a Sudanese refugee who moves to Minnesota to start his new bittersweet life. Almost everyone in his family is dead and his mother is missing, so he stays with his aunt and a cousin who lost a hand in the war.
There are so many beautiful details in the story, such as Kek's friendship with Gol, a cow that he adopts. It has funny moments too, such as when he puts his aunt's dishes in the washing machine, shattering them all. I found myself rooting for Kek, hoping that his mother would return, that he would make friends, that he would have the happy ending that he deserves.
The free verse writing makes it a quick read, although I found myself pausing to reflect on the story or just admire Applegate's word choice. I think that some of my quiet students will really connect with Kek but I think anyone will enjoy it. Put it on your bookshelf now.